Sci-fi movie "The Fly" gets opera treatment

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - David Cronenberg’s sci-fi terror movie “The Fly” has taken on a new life in the Canadian director’s first foray into the world of opera.

“The Fly”, described as a classical re-imagining of the 1986 movie about an eccentric scientist who turns into a massive fly, will open the new season at Los Angeles Opera in September with LA Opera director Placido Domingo conducting the orchestra.

But fans be warned. Although “The Fly” reunited the movie’s director, composer, costume designer and creature designer, this isn’t just a revered film set to classical music.

“I didn’t want to remake the movie. I didn’t want to rewrite the screenplay again,” Cronenberg, 65, told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. “This production has a power and charisma all its own.”

Cronenberg directs the production to a first opera score by Howard Shore, who composed the movie soundtrack, and a libretto by David Henry Hwang. “The Fly” was commissioned about three years ago by Domingo and got a brief first outing in Paris in July in a co-production with LA Opera.

Movies have rarely made the transition to the world of opera, but Cronenberg said the basic plot of “The Fly” had the elements of love story, retribution and transformation common to many operas that made it ideal for a stage treatment.

Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch plays love-struck researcher Seth Brundle -- the role played on screen by Jeff Goldblum -- who mutates into a hybrid of a man and a fly after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Cronenberg said there had always been music in his life -- his mother was a pianist -- but added; “I can’t say I’ve been an obsessive opera buff.”

“The Fly” is one of a number of successful Hollywood movies getting the opera treatment. Italy’s La Scala opera house has commissioned an opera based on Al Gore’s global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and New York City Opera has commissioned an opera treatment of 2005 gay cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain”, which was itself based on a short story by Annie Proulx.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant